PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A proposal to increase taxes on medical marijuana businesses to help pay for public safety needs went up in smoke during Tuesday’s Phoenix City Council meeting.
The meeting began with the police and fire chiefs giving a sobering presentation demonstrating their staffing needs.
“We have to come up with extra money somehow and we don’t have a lot of options,” said interim Mayor Thelda Williams.
Several council members claimed they received little to no information on Williams’ proposal ahead of the meeting. Councilwoman Laura Pastor questioned transparency as councilman Sal DiCiccio suggested Williams broke the rules in the process of preparing the proposal.
Public safety union heads found themselves caught in the middle.
“My men and women on the street are paying the price and they're fed up and it's dangerous,” said Ken Crane with the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association.
Councilmen DiCiccio and Jim Waring criticized the City for mismanaging funds and insisted the money for public safety exists.
“There was an illusion that we don’t have money just laying (sic) around but we have some money laying (sic) around,” said Waring. “We do.”
Medical marijuana advocates argued the medicine improves quality of life. Dispensary owners said the taxes would put them out of business.
DiCiccio proposed a motion to kill the proposal which passed with a vote.